Cyber criminals are taking advantage of COVID-19 and the increased online activity during the lockdown as statistics have shown a massive spike in cyber-attacks in South Africa from under 30 000 to 310 000 daily! Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Beware of requests for personal information. Cyber criminals are using phishing scams like coronavirus-themed emails that seeks personal information like your login information. Never respond to an email with your personal information.
- Beware of links and check the email address. Emails asking to open a link or attachment to see that latest COVID-19 numbers should be treated with caution as it could be cyber criminals trying to load malicious software onto your device. Take a look at the email address – does it look suspicious in any way? If there is a link, hover over the link with your mouse to see the URL the link is directed to. If you have any doubts at all, do not open the link or attachment and delete the email.
- Look for spelling or grammar errors. Spelling and grammar issues are often a sign of a phishing email.
- Dear sir or madam. Emails that open with a generic greeting like ‘Dear sir or madam’ are often another warning sign that this is a phishing email.
- Don’t forget your Social Media: Check and update the privacy settings on your social media accounts.
- PASSWORDS! Your first line of defense is your passwords. Ensure they strong (a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters) and change them regularly.
In this day and age, the lockdown period doesn’t only require us to keep physically safe but digitally safe as well. If for any reason you get an uneasy feeling from an online communication – rather err on the side of caution and delete it.